Cattle rancher: California storms have helped with drought

Weather

The Los Angeles River flows downstream in Los Angeles Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023. California got more wind, rain and snow on Saturday, raising flooding concerns, causing power outages and making travel dangerous. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

(NewsNation) — Severe weather has swept through California, with weeks of rain from storms that washed away certain crops, affected livestock and caused dangerous flooding.

However, storms have also provided much-needed relief to a state plagued by drought conditions for a while.

Josh Davy, a cattle rancher in Tehama County, California, says though the storms have done a lot of damage in the southern part of the state, they’ve also been a “blessing straight from God” in the north after two years of rains stopping early in the season.

“We’ve got reservoirs that needed to be filled, we’ve got ponds that needed to be filled,” he said. “We are so thankful we are rejoicing with the rain, and we hope it continues.”

For rice farmers in particular, they will be able to irrigate crops and pastures they’ve had to leave fallow for the last year, Davy said.

Even with some help from the wetter weather, though, farmers are still feeling the effects from the drought. While farmers will eventually catch up in production, Davy said, there’s a backlog in industries such as livestock.

As Davy said in a previous conversation with NewsNation, ranchers had to sell their cattle last year as the West underwent extreme drought conditions. The New York Post reported in July 2022 that cow herds were being culled at paces not seen in a decade.

And for ranchers, it’s now too expensive to replace their herds every year, Davy pointed out.

“The price of a cow has gone up the same way the price of meat in the grocery store has gone up, so it takes time to rebuild. We’ll probably see that price start to trickle down,” Davy said. “But it’s going to take several years to be able to recoup the numbers that we’ve lost because of this drought across the whole Western U.S.”

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